Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New (well, sort of) Ethics Complaint

Last week an interesting item was on City Council's agenda. The item called for deferring the acceptance of any new Ethics complaints for 90 days.  The reason for the deferral was to allow Council the opportunity to have the current municipal code and hearing process reviewed and perhaps modified. 

So, why does Council want to do this now?  The obvious and simple answer is one only need look at what the actions of one council member, Adrian Bonser, cost this City!  That would be 11 months of distraction, about $100,000 in attorney's fees, and a loss of some level of faith and credibility in  Council, and in the mind of many a complete loss of credibility of the Ethics Board.  Hence the move to "review" that which is "obviously broken".  Or is it?  

Some on Council now believe that the process should not be sent to a Board of Ethics, but should be the purview of a Hearing Officer exclusively, one schooled in the process of adjudicating such matters.  I'm not sure I like this idea.  I want citizens involved in reviewing ethics complaints. It ensures that "sunshine" is a part of the process.   

The unspoken reason for this change, I suspect, is that the existing Board of Ethics was viewed as extremely ineffective and irresponsible in the execution of their duties.  The fact that the BOE allowed more than 8 months to pass before it scheduled an evidentiary hearing points to the source of condern.  Then, to make matters worse, the BOE completely shirked its' responsibility by sending the issue to mediation. Good grief!

My suggestion to Council is to keep the current process and Board structure and to carefully select any new appointment when replacing those coming off their term of service.  Ensure that the Chair has the experience and leadership necessary to drive and manage the board in the fulfillment of its' duties.  If the BOE needs a Hearing Officer to guide them through certain processes, then provide that.

So, tomorrow at 10 am there is a Special Called Meeting of the Board of Ethics to review a complaint filed by a private citizen, Joe Hirsch, in December of 2012.

It too is related to the February 3rd Executive Session meeting. But, its not just against Councilmember Bonser this time.  It is against the mayor, all council members, as well as the city manager and clerk.  See below.

Good times are back in Dunwoody!  I'm Just Sayin'........

1 comment:

  1. My low expectations in the city of Dunwoody were affirmed today. Here’s your update: the ethics complaint was dismissed by the board, saying it was filed improperly. Case closed. There was no interest in pursuing any fact-finding on their own. No discussion of the merits of the complaint. No concern over probable illegal actions of city officials. They seemed happy to be able to walk away saying they followed the letter of the law – and they don’t want to investigate anything. They took the easiest route. It was also the laziest. After the meeting, the Chairman says it looks like it could be a legal matter that could be handled by the courts, and the city’s Ethics Board couldn’t have done anything to punish anyone anyways. Mayor Davis said he knew he would be cleared from the beginning.